Pa-THAI Tayo Dyan!

Posted: July 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

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Pa-THAI tayo dyan!
SIAM: THAILAND (Chatuchak)
ITLog No.7
25-30 June 2011

Anybody who love travelling will say that travelling is tiring… starting from preparing for the trip, packing your things for the trip, hustling to the airport or bus station, moving from one place to another but for us… it is satisfying!

Ever since I watched the movie The King and I when I was small (I think it was shown on TV that time), I started to be fascinated with the land of Siam and later did I know that it was Thailand. I have been reading a lot about Thailand, its people and temples, Buddha, the elephants and Floating Markets, The Bridge on the River Kwai and was also connected in some way with the Vietnam War.

For 500 years, Westerners have called one magical Asian kingdom “Siam”
16th century French travelers reported that the Siamese capital Ayutthaya was the most beautiful city in the East, rivaling Paris itself. Their detailed accounts described Siam as a land of fabulous temples and traditions set in pleasure garden surroundings.

Since then the mention of Siam has inspired visions of a lush Far Eastern paradise… a land of great Kings and Queens, gilded palaces, complex culture and intricate handicrafts. The truth about Siam is every bit as exotic as the fantastic accounts Westerners have related for 500 years. And more.

Siam still blends beauty, ancient traditions and tropical abundance. Siam’s reigning King Bhumibol Adulyadej is an enlightened and compassionate champion of the people. King Bhumibol, born December 5th, 1927 in Cambridge Massachusetts, is the world’s only American-born monarch. He ascended the throne of Siam on June 9th, 1946 at 18 years of age and today he is the world’s longest reigning monarch.

His dedication to his duties and his people is extraordinary. He is a king not only by birth, but also by his actions and accomplishments. For this he is rewarded by the unwavering love, respect and devotion of all Thai citizens.

On May 11, 1949 Siam became Thailand, the “Land of the Free”, ruled by a constitutional monarchy. Unlike all of its Southeast Asian neighbors, Thailand was never colonized by a Western power. This rare history of freedom has made Thais intensely proud of their Siamese culture and sincere in welcoming visitors and ideas from around the world.

Reading all this, I was so excited that we would be visiting the land of elephants. Our flight was at 2135hrs and was at the airport at around 1900hrs, and checked in our bags but was surprised to learn that our flight was Go Lite, which we do not normally get (we always book our flights with luggage because of the things we would carry and was not indicated in our ticket), and Cebu Pacific was charging us Php400 each which normally would be an additional Php100 each for the 15kgs luggage (which I think is another way to rip passengers off). After the hassle in the check-in counter, we headed for Yellow Cab Pizza to feast on some Dear Darla Pizza, then we lounged at the lounging area to wait for boarding. Boarded the plane at around 2100hrs. Arriving at Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 2400hrs (2300hrs TT) and was picked up by a friend and headed for our hotel but learned that we could only check in a 0600hrs (0500hrs TT), so we headed out and ate at a roadside restaurant where they serve good food and saw that they have ducks eggs which was color pink. After eating we bought some Durian, which tasted and smells better than those they sell here in the Philippines (which I learned that the fruits here are the lowest kind of durian – kaya mabaho at di masyadong masarap). Then, headed back to the hotel and waited, then checked in and rested for our planned whole day shopping at Chatuchak.

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Woke up at 0800hrs (0700hrs TT) and prepared for the day, then headed for Chatuchak by Tok-tok. At Chatuchak we walk around and tried to get something to eat for breakfast (stalls were still closed because it was still early). We tried tasting the foods that we see around and I was amazed how many kinds of food you could see in one place.

Though there are many markets throughout Bangkok, Chatuchak Weekend Market is still pretty much the undisputed king of them all. The scale of it is pretty unbelievable – it covers an area of 70 rai (35 acres), contains more than 15 000 shops and stalls, has over 200 000 visitors each day, and they spend an estimated total of 30 million baht (approx US$750 000). The range of products on sale is extensive, and includes household accessories, handicrafts, religious artifacts, art, antiques, live animals (which unfortunately are frequently caged in cruel conditions), books, music, clothes, food, plants and flowers etc.

Chatuchak (Jatujak) is a particularly good place to buy all sorts of Thai handicrafts, as there’s a huge range, the quality is high and the intense competition keeps the prices low. Be careful when buying antiques, the large majority of goods that they offer are fakes and telling the difference between the genuine and the copies can be extremely difficult. Genuine antiques require a permit to be taken out of the country, but you will also need a permit if a fake is good enough to fool the inspecting custom officers.
Bargaining is expected, if not mandatory, at Chatuchak and the prices are generally substantially cheaper than the shopping centers and street stalls on Silom and Sukhumvit. Many shops in the more centrals areas of the city also have a branch here, selling the same goods for much lower prices.

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Eating lunch in Chatuchak (pork balls with noodles), and then went around again to see more of the place. After all the shopping we did, we headed back to the hotel to leave our things and headed for Big C (a big shopping mall here in Thailand) where I saw a 52” LCD TV (Samsung) selling for only 12,000BHT. This is a great place to shop for groceries because of the wide range of stocks just like S&R in the Philippines.

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Walking back to our hotel, buying some food along the way, and then ate dinner at our hotel room, then around 2000hrs (1900hrs TT) we headed back again to Chatuchak and walk around, this time stalls were already closing but other vendors ply their wares along the streets. Then after a long day, we headed back to our hotel to rest, for tomorrow would be another long and exciting day.

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All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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